Boko Haram terrorists on Saturday dislodged Nigerian troops and recaptured Gudumbali town, the headquarters of Guzamala Local Government Area in the northern part of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, after a lengthy gun battle that started on Friday night.
Nigerian soldiers and civilians were fleeing the town as the terrorists took full control, two months after Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, in July, unveiled a cenotaph in remembrance of the 144 officers and soldiers who fell to Boko Haram in a single swoop in November 2015.
The fall of Gudumbali triggered fears that Boko Haram was back in full force contrary to claims by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the terrorists had been defeated.
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Hundreds of displaced residents had only returned to the town a few weeks ago but were on the run again as the gunfight exploded on Friday night.
Online newspaper, SaharaReporters, quoted a source in Borno as saying that many civilians and soldiers took refuge in Gubio while the insurgents raided the town.
“Last night, there was sporadic shooting everywhere as the insurgents shouted ‘Allah is Great!’” the source said on the phone from Gubio.
“Boko Haram has dislodged troops and they are currently in Gudumbali, the headquarters of Guzamala LGA HQ.”
A second source, one familiar with the operations of the military in Borno, confirmed the attack, was quoted by the online newspaper as saying: “It is true. The attacks began yesterday and Boko Haram finally retook Gudumbali from the Army.”
Usman Mamman Durkwa, Deputy Governor of Borno State, also confirmed the development, telling SaharaReporters: “Thousands of people who were displaced and spent sme years in resettlement camps in maiduguri recently returned home after the liberation of those surrounding communities by our gallant security forces.
“However, I regret to confirm to you that there was another attack by insurgents on Gudumbali, even though I am yet to get the number of casualties”.
According to the newspaper, “the Gudumbali attack is still considered one of the deadliest single casualties of the military in the ongoing Boko Haram war. The victims were among a battalion of 750 soldiers who suffered the shock reprisal attack after fighting for four days through a heavily fortified rank of Boko Hara”.